Holy cows.. it’s fair season!!

Meet Mrs. Curly top!!

Curly top, you are adorable!

I’m supposed to tell you that it’s impossible to fall in love with a cow, but unfortunately it’s very possible!! That’s because I totally fell for this curly cutie.. I know, I know, I’m probably sounding crazy right about now, but I’m telling you there was never a cuter cow in my book. First of all cows are not supposed to be “cute!” Second of all, hand feeding a cow is the slimiest experience I can ever remember. But all that aside, I was just fascinated with Goldie Locks! Imagine the kids’ reactions when they find out that the new family pet is now going to be a cow?! Really mom?!

Lets just say I was ready to adopt!

….and I’m totally kidding….

The second stars of the cuteness show were the adorable piglets.

This Lil piggy..

Watching cute little piggies scampering about was super entertaining, and smelly. But they were adorable!!

Basically our first fair trip this year was all about the animals. The kids could not get enough of the petting area or the farm and gardens at the Orange County fair this summer. We watched a great lesson on the milking process and how the production actually goes. I guess Gavin was expecting to see an old man pull up a stool and start hand milking the cow over a glass jar. Needless to say, seeing a suction and machines expressing milk into a bucket was quite the introduction to the real-life assembly line style that is the life of a cow this day in age!

Gavin is also overcoming his apprehensive tendencies towards animals. After a good feeding session, I could hardly get him to leave!

Big sis is always great at helping Grant feel comfortable with certain things, such as the over-excited goats who are crazy about food! She was very patient during the process!

 

Vegetable gardens, and melon patches were looking mighty fine too! We liked exploring all of the delicious varieties that they had growing around there.

And no fair trip is complete without some sort of ride on a pony or a chance to play around with some drumsticks.

Drummer boy.

It was great to continue our learning adventures over the summer without even trying. The trip to this fair was one of those perfect opportunities for that head start!

We are looking forward now to the L.A. County fair coming up this September. I wonder what will be catching our eyes next time…

The Empty Nest: Part 2

To follow-up on our lovely little nest find:

Conveniently spread out over the span of a couple of weeks, we took our time with the study of our nest. We used a couple of bird worksheets (here and here for a few ideas if needed!) The kids also made this nifty little bird mobile which we found the printable for on this site. We changed it a bit however, and decided that it needed a sturdy oatmeal box as the tree and real leaves to make it more realistic. Fun stuff!!

The bird mobile

Then there was the bird nest experiment, that I found on education.com. I also needed to adapt this for our own use. This experiment could have been more thorough had we already invested in a microscope and some petri dishes, but we just aren’t there yet. It was a very neat little experiment though. I had Ella write out her official hypotheses on whether she thought there were other living organisms in the nest, besides the bird and egg/s that inhabited it. She decided that, No, it only has seeds and probably no other ‘living’ things really.

She was right… (unless of course a microscope would have shown otherwise.) But our findings after leaving the nest under a hot lamp for a few days, was that nothing else had set up home in the nest after all.

Come out, come out, wherever you are…

Looking for clues

After discussing the reasons why birds make nests the way they do, and the benefits to making a nest in a hidden, far to reach place, we watched a couple of videos that I was able to find on YouTube of a real bird building its nest. Then I challenged them at making a replica of a nest and for a minute we joked that they should make it without using hands! They quickly saw what a hard thing that would be to carry out, and now appreciate the amazing skill that birds possess to create a nest using only their beaks!

Here is what they came up with:

Looked pretty good to me!! (Bendaroos, yarn, plant base stuffing and burlap made nice materials for that.) While their nest wasn’t as structurally sound as the real one, its colorful style added so much ‘flare!’

Speaking of nest styles, the nest that we found had one particular clue which stood out about what type of bird was living in it. After desperately scanning several sites to try to identify this nest, we narrowed it down. I should add that this bird nest identification business is a tricky thing! We noticed that there appeared to be a hole towards the bottom of the nest and that the description of a House Sparrow nest stated that it might have a hole about to the bottom of it. Normally the sparrow nest might be taller than ours, but it also depends on the location. The position in the tree that we found it was about roof height which is also a quality of that type. Luckily we also saw the egg which was a smaller greyish, white color with speckles and about the size of a dime and connects it to the House Sparrow description as well. There were plenty of qualities that immediately crossed off other birds from the list, such as mud used on the nest, an enclosed nest, many feathers used throughout the design and the type of grasses used.

I think all clues point to one answer in my non-expert bird opinion: It’s a House Sparrow nest!! 🙂

Overall the nest study turned out a success and was a fun way to end the ‘official’ school year these past couple of weeks. Be sure to be on the lookout for abandoned nests… it just might be the inspiration needed for a little study on the sweet little winged friends, whom love to bring us happy song!

“Did you ever see an unhappy horse? Did you ever see bird that had the blues? One reason why birds and horses are not unhappy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses.” ~Dale Carnegie

The Empty Nest

“Enjoy the spring of love and youth. To some good angel leave the rest, for time will teach thee soon the truth, ‘there are no birds in last year’s nest.” ~ Henry W. Longfellow

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A Mother’s day discovery… As the day wound down at my parents house and goodbyes were being said, we discovered the egg shell of a baby bird lying in the grass. Not far from above was the abandoned, empty nest up in the tree. I most certainly took the chance to claim this prize of nature for studying this week in science.

The Kidspace Children’s Museum

You are worried about seeing him spend his early years in doing nothing.  What!  Is it nothing to be happy?  Nothing to skip, play, and run around all day long?  Never in his life will he be so busy again.  ~Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Ever since discovering that the Kidspace Children’s Museum offers free admission on the first Tuesday of each month, I knew that we would take that opportunity at some point! Who can pass up FREE these days right?! So this month was our first time, and definitely not the last! Although the free night is only a four-hour chunk of time, it gives enough opportunity to decide if it’s worth a full day trip coming again. It was really a fun experience for all three of them! The museum has various exploring areas encouraging lots of learning which was great!

They loved the art area….

There was the giant water-color station…

Lots of little crafts going on here…

The little artist

We love to paint!!

Then it was a mosaic craft..

Great for little creative minds 🙂

The museum had all these crazy crawling/climbing spaces that even the adults could try. This one below was very cool but about half way up with Grant I was getting dizzy… Literally when you are up that narrow of a space and looking up or down is the same view it kind of freaks you out! It seemed like it never ended so we turned around!

A never-ending crawl space..

More climbing!!

Seriously there was so much to do! Like this fossil discovery area…

My little digger.

And this silly bug kitchen where the kids can play and pretend to serve the bugs meals. There were exhibits in the kitchen showing what bugs might lurk in our kitchens if we don’t keep them clean…GROSS!!

May we take your orders?!

Bug Appétit

At one point Grant ran out of the kitchen so fast yelling, “A BALL, A BALL!!!”  and this is what he had spotted…

The golf Gods have spoken to him

It was pretty cute that he saw it so randomly at the time…and if it isn’t obvious, he is obsessed with anything sports related like big-bro.

There were some very cool exhibits all around and an entire room dedicated to learning the ends and outs of science related things… life cycles, rocks and minerals, bones, shells and water life, magnetic fields… so, so much we could definitely spend an entire day there! I think the summer time will be great because there is also a huge outdoor water play area and a new addition of fun activities that is opening up soon. The day we went was raining but the kids still wanted to mess around near the water of course!

Singing in the rain

Oh yeah and the museum has a calender of events that you can plan for. The evening we came on was a cultural dance night. That was a fun show and interesting to learn about a different style of dance…

Story tellers..

So that was our experience at the Kidspace Museum and they can’t wait to go back! We love this kind of fun learning!

Till next time!